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Saint Roch, early 16th century, France, Normandy (Manche), said to have come from the cathedral at Cherbourg.

Saint Roch, early 16th century, France, Normandy (Manche), said to have come from the cathedral at Cherbourg. Oak, paint, and gilding, 61 1/2" (156 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Cloisters Collection, 1925 (25.120.239 a, b).

The importance of symbolism, the anatomical naturalism, and the slightly exaggerated S curve in this figure's stance are all characteristic of the Late Gothic style in Europe. The various stories of Roch's life (c. 1350-1380) explain the details of this statue, and account for his becoming the patron saint of the diseased and veterinarians. Here he is a pilgrim wearing a shade hat with the crossed keys of Saint Peter to signify that he has just visited the shrines of Rome. His ornate tunic hints at his nobility, for Roch was supposedly the son of the governor of Montpellier in France. However, it is also sized for a plumper person, showing that, after curing others, Roch became sick with the Black Plague. This is confirmed by his worried expression and the disease's bubo, which discreetly appears on his thigh, rather than in his groin, where the lymphatic system often formed such a "bubble." A dog, seen here, brought him food and, later, his master, who nursed Roch back to health.

Activity

Have your students create a written or oral narrative about this figure based on its details.

Dr Mike Norris, museum educator for Family Programs, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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Title Annotation:GalleryCard: Interpretation
Author:Norris, Mike
Publication:School Arts
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2007
Words:242
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